The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council; Mr Hassan Bello has said that the council is currently engaging all shipping companies in Nigeria in order to obtain 25 % reduction in shipping cost.
Already, the council has suspended collection of the $400 port congestion surcharge imposed by multinational shipping line; CMA CGM on cargoes berthing at Lagos ports of Tin Can and Apapa.
However speaking in Lagos last week, Bello said there is need to have a regulator in the ports to ensure commensurate cost and effectiveness.
He noted that even though the port concession exercise has transformed Nigerian ports positively, there was need to ensure a stable and friendly price regime.
He said, "We put our ports at the disposal of the private sector which is good, in fact we have seen some developments, the ports were not as they used to be, we no longer have port rats, we now have a modern payment system but we need a regulator to put everybody in check and encourage competition, effectiveness"
"On the price regime, the Nigerian Shippers Council is now negotiating with the shipping companies about their prices and by the time we are through, we are going to have 25% reduction in shipping cost in Nigeria"
Bello noted that many nations of the world rely on their ports as the main means of generating revenue.
"The Nigerian Shippers’ Council is making noticeable and meaningful impact on Nigerian economy, the council as port economic regulator is regulating tariffs, charges, related economic services in order to make our ports competitive because our ports are competing with other ports " he said
Bello confirmed later to our correspondent that the decision to suspend collection of the surcharge introduced by CMA CGM was taken after a closed door meeting with stakeholders in Lagos.
He confirmed that: “We had a meeting yesterday with the shipping companies that introduced the charges. We are still meeting again but what we said was that whether they are surcharges or local charges, it must be cleared with the council”
“The procedure was not followed, so the shipping companies will go back to their principal to convey the outcome to the carriers”
“They cannot just charge arbitrarily, first of all NSC opposed the charges especially because of the economy; secondly, the procedure is wrong, you can’t just slam charges without telling us”
He added that, “we told them to suspend or stop the charges and consult their principal before the next meeting,’’ said the NSC boss.
He said that another meeting would be held to conclude on the matter.
CMA CGM had recently announced that cargoes from any part of the world on any of its ships will attract extra “USD 400 / EUR 850 per 20' Dry and Reefer and USD 400 / EUR 350 per 40' Dry and Reefer.
The surcharge was to have taken off on Monday; October 15th, 2018, but it was suspended by the Shippers’ Council.